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View Full Version : Help me: What do you want in a router? 2 1/2yrs later I'm finally doing it!



Chilling_Silence
22-11-2015, 06:16 PM
Hi all,

So I'm sure you'll remember this from a couple of years back:
http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/telecom-boss-updates-geekzone-crowdsourced-broadband-gatewaymodem-project
http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?134210

Like the NBR article mentions:

He noted one Geekzone wishlist feature - rack mounting - ran counter to the desire of most Telecom customers for a small, discreet modem that can be easily hidden away.
Still, while acknowledging many were not practical for middle New Zealand households, he liked a lot of the Geekzone ideas, and rated the the project a success.

Well, I don't. I think it was a huge abysmal failure that never amounted to anything at all. I'd like to say: I told you so, to Mauricio.

Anyway, a combinatino of time, professional growth, technology and more, has allowed me to do just this, and I'm already part-way through it. So, I want to know:
What do you think an "average Joe Bloggs" would want to see in a router?
I'm talking let's design something for the 95% here, rather than Geekzone designing for the "5%".

This is going to be cut down, simple. I'm going to carry on with my original mock-up images ( http://imgur.com/a/pSvJb ) which shows some basic stats right away without logging in.
- I'm going to only show basic WiFi settings, so you can set the SSID, Key and if you're going to use WPA or WPA2.
- I'm going to hide most LAN settings and more
- I'm going to provide an "overview" page that will show how much data is going in and out each "port" at any given time (So you can see WiFi has 55mbps transmitted over it at the time you loaded up the page)
- I'm designing it with Cellphone / Tablet for administration first and foremost :pf1mobmini:

I'm after some more ideas, what are some of the basic things that would be helpful?
What would you think would be helpful? What would your grandparents find useful?

Another thing I'm contemplating is writing a basic "App" for Android / iOS that you can use that'll help you get on to the routers UI.

So yeah whilst I'm not going to "throw the kitchen sink" at this project, I'd love some ideas from members here on things that would make their life easier, especially given a number of you regularly do remote tech support for family / friends.

Cheers


Chill.

Chilling_Silence
22-11-2015, 06:30 PM
In fact, here's another plot twist:
What are some things you _don't_ want to see?

For example, I don't think a router needs to be showing things like:
- Custom / static routes
- UPnP Settings
- DNS Proxy settings
- Subnet Mask settings (Really, how many people set theirs to anything aside from 255.255.255.0?)

What else? :D

gary67
22-11-2015, 06:49 PM
Set time limits for any device easily.

Easy setup of static ips

Ofthesea
22-11-2015, 09:11 PM
Is it all possible to have a significant LED that is labelled "Hey man, I've lost connection to the ISP", rather than trying to remember which light is which and what cadence etc. Then in the perfect world it goes into automatic attempts to reconnect and stabilise.
Oh and also on the occasions that my connection goes haywire and I manually restart my TP Link modem it is never fixed until I do a soft boot and it's then ok. Crazy and it doesn't bother me too much but not what I would expect for a new one.
Then maybe moving to the 5% (?) but ability to report on devices that have connected recently.
Just ideas

Chilling_Silence
22-11-2015, 09:57 PM
Set time limits for any device easily.
Easy setup of static ips
Hmm OK so:
- Time limits (As in, you're only allowed internet between 3PM and 9PM)
- Bandwidth limits (Daily / weekly / monthly)
- Device naming / IP Address assigning

I really like that last one, yes I think that's a fantastic idea!
That's gotta be one of the most bloody annoying things, never knowing what device is what.



Is it all possible to have a significant LED that is labelled "Hey man, I've lost connection to the ISP", rather than trying to remember which light is which and what cadence etc. Then in the perfect world it goes into automatic attempts to reconnect and stabilise.
Oh and also on the occasions that my connection goes haywire and I manually restart my TP Link modem it is never fixed until I do a soft boot and it's then ok. Crazy and it doesn't bother me too much but not what I would expect for a new one.
Then maybe moving to the 5% (?) but ability to report on devices that have connected recently.
Just ideas

OK excellent, I like these:
- Online status (At this stage I'm only going to be focusing on UFB, or on routers for in combination with the likes of a DrayTek DV130)
Thinking more about this, I think a big tick box to say "Yes, you're online" or "No, you're not" sorta thing...

- Recently connected devices, I think this could also be useful, perhaps to see how long something has been online.
I'm thinking like a status / overview page, and this could tie in quite well with having the ability to name devices. It'd show the devices name, such as "Bobs iPhone", how long it's been connected for, perhaps it's WiFi signal strength, and maybe even the IP address.

Yes, I think those are all fantastic ideas! Keep 'em coming! :D

pctek
23-11-2015, 07:53 AM
What do you think an "average Joe Bloggs" would want to see in a router?


Simplicity.
Reliabilty.

A simple basic interface, really simple - showing the username/password bit, wifi password, connection (or not) info and that's pretty much it.
In plain english.

Obviously there should be a more detailed section, but Basic/Advanced perhaps and the basic really is.
Helped heaps of people set up over the phone and they all find it confusing and too complicated.
Even just finding the right section.

dugimodo
23-11-2015, 08:46 AM
What pctek said. In fact the general public average user type doesn't want to fiddle with the router settings at all, ever. Something that for almost all users can be unboxed, plugged in, and forgotten about. That's the holy grail of consumer appliances. When it does become necessary to configure things you want all the common simple settings laid out as simply as possible, and if there was an explanation available of what the setting was for even better.

For the more technically minded the advanced features still need to be available, but generally those people can figure it out and don't need so much help.
For me personally I've often considered a dual device setup with gargoyle on one of them but could never be bothered setting it up (or spending the money) and opted instead for an all in one device that just does the job and is close to my Ideal, forget the model it's a TP-Link VDSL modem/router with dual band Wi-Fi and 3 Aerials.

Something on the hardware side, almost every router I've owned ran hot and didn't tolerate being placed somewhere warm or where direct sunlight might hit it. Many people won't figure out why a modem failed, just decide it's rubbish and try a different one. So based on that I think routers need better cooling and a note to avoid direct sunlight on them.

Summary;
Simple to set up and use (Just works)
Reliable
If it has Wi-Fi speed and performance matter
Advanced features available for those who need them, not seen by those who don't
Cooling?

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 11:23 AM
Simplicity.
Reliabilty.
Exactly! I agree.


A simple basic interface, really simple - showing the username/password bit, wifi password, connection (or not) info and that's pretty much it.
In plain english.

Obviously there should be a more detailed section, but Basic/Advanced perhaps and the basic really is.
Helped heaps of people set up over the phone and they all find it confusing and too complicated.
Even just finding the right section.
Yeah I feel your pain, which is kinda what prompted me to further investigate this again recently...

I like the idea of having a Basic / Advanced, but even the Advanced can probably be kept to a minimum.


What pctek said. In fact the general public average user type doesn't want to fiddle with the router settings at all, ever. Something that for almost all users can be unboxed, plugged in, and forgotten about. That's the holy grail of consumer appliances. When it does become necessary to configure things you want all the common simple settings laid out as simply as possible, and if there was an explanation available of what the setting was for even better.
Yeah OK thats some good advice, so out-of-the-box works with WiFi on...


For the more technically minded the advanced features still need to be available, but generally those people can figure it out and don't need so much help.
For me personally I've often considered a dual device setup with gargoyle on one of them but could never be bothered setting it up (or spending the money) and opted instead for an all in one device that just does the job and is close to my Ideal, forget the model it's a TP-Link VDSL modem/router with dual band Wi-Fi and 3 Aerials.
I have the TD-W9980 TP-Link behind me, looked at putting OpenWRT on it but apparently you have to flash it by pulling it apart and using the serial console :-/


Something on the hardware side, almost every router I've owned ran hot and didn't tolerate being placed somewhere warm or where direct sunlight might hit it. Many people won't figure out why a modem failed, just decide it's rubbish and try a different one. So based on that I think routers need better cooling and a note to avoid direct sunlight on them.
Yeah for sure. The TL-WR1043ND I've been using as "test" hardware so far isn't too bad in that respect. Will be looking at other hardware too...


Summary;
Simple to set up and use (Just works)
Reliable
If it has Wi-Fi speed and performance matter
Advanced features available for those who need them, not seen by those who don't
Cooling?
Right, so the WiFi speed / performance is very much going to be a combination of the hardware and the firmware. It's some food for thought.
It sounds like a few "advanced" features will be needed, kept separate from the basics... But what sort of "Advanced" stuff are we talking about? What do you reckon would fall under that category?

I'll grab some screenshots of what I've got so far and post them shortly...

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 11:37 AM
So we start with the home page:
6829

The Router Overview:
6830
I think even having DNS there is possibly too much. Eventually I think a few extra things like "You have X devices connected" which could then further drill down to show you who's connected via WiFi / cable etc could be cool
What other stuff would be handy in there?
The "Network throughput" page is still a work-in-progress. It does what it says but it's ugly and convoluted.

Internet Access page:
6827
I think having the "hints" in the background may be a little too much? Thoughts?

WiFi Settings:
6831
Behind it, it asks for your WiFi "password" as well, but that screenshot didn't get uploaded coz PF1 limits you to 5 attachments per-thread?

LAN Settings (Under Advanced):
6828
I'm _contemplating_ allowing DNS to be specified in there too, but not sure.

Thinking I could also put in the ability under "Advanced" to label each device. All devices will get the same IP via DHCP each time, so that's not a problem, but to actually *label* them I think could be helpful in combination with some other basic functionality, traffic prioritization etc

Anyways I'm hoping that giving you a bit of a glimpse of what I've got going already (It's all working and functional) that you might be able to provide me with even more, specific feedback :)

Thanks again thus far all, you've been great!

wratterus
23-11-2015, 12:50 PM
Awesome!!!

1101
23-11-2015, 01:12 PM
my 2c

- in wifi : allow WirelessN only , or G&N (ie no B) . Ive not seen anything like 'allow G but not B' .
- some sort of parent app to restrict kids ph/pc internet access to time and/or data allowance.
- on one of the main screen's : connect speed & uptime , and clearly shows if sucessfully logged in (to internet ) or not
- easy to setup port forwarding, that actually works :)

- and if we are talking hardware, then LED's that are clearly labled, with on/off (green/red), not blinking . As noted above 1 LED that shows connected/not connected

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 02:01 PM
my 2c

- in wifi : allow WirelessN only , or G&N (ie no B) . Ive not seen anything like 'allow G but not B' .
Yeah, that's always seemed kinda pointless to me, why stop a device from using something faster? The router supports N-Wireless, and G-Wireless, so why prevent people connecting on 802.11n? :D
This _forces_ 802.11b/g/n, all of them the router can handle


- some sort of parent app to restrict kids ph/pc internet access to time and/or data allowance.
Yeah I think that's going to come in handy with the "Device naming" function. Name a device once and it's named for good, sorta thing... Can then add in those other Quotas or Time-restrictions if desired.
I like that, but I think that'll be a feature I work on later :)


- on one of the main screen's : connect speed & uptime , and clearly shows if sucessfully logged in (to internet ) or not
OK so rather than having a "Status" page like that, just show it right on the main-screen?


- easy to setup port forwarding, that actually works :)
Yeah perhaps have the ability to select the device from a drop-down list, using the name, rather than remembering IPs etc.... Will have to put that under Advanced, of course, but I think we're on the right track that port-forwarding could be easier.


- and if we are talking hardware, then LED's that are clearly labled, with on/off (green/red), not blinking . As noted above 1 LED that shows connected/not connected
Unsure how easily I can do that, but I'll have a play with device-lights :D

Thanks for the feedback, keep it coming! :)

1101
23-11-2015, 04:01 PM
Yeah, that's always seemed kinda pointless to me, why stop a device from using something faster? The router supports N-Wireless, and G-Wireless, so why prevent people connecting on 802.11n? :D
This _forces_ 802.11b/g/n, all of them the router can handle


what I really meant was an option to just block WirelessB , (or Block B & G) , because if a single old B device connects the whole lots drops to B (supposedly)
Not many wirelessB devices around now though , so maybee not a big deal.

wifi pass setup: have less options ? so you are given WPA2 as the main/only option . Not much point offering an easily cracklable/hackable wifi pass option.

ADSL : have preconfigured drop down login/setup options to suit Spark, vodafone etc. As some do now

:)

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 04:46 PM
Food for thought about the 802.11b vs the rest, I'll have a mulling over and do a bit of research :)
I don't believe anybody actually bothers with restricting things, and like you say there's not really many only 802.11b devices around.

I was allowing WPA coz I think that some older devices, such as an older model Nintendo DS, only support WPA, not WPA2, but even so I'm contemplating just dropping that too.
Otherwise, it's just WiFi Name (SSID) and Password. Could work I suppose?

ADSL, this device won't currently work with it, it's for UFB only, but that's something I'm keeping in mind for future planning. All use the VPI / VCI of 0 / 100, so it's just "Username and password" really for devices sold in NZ.

I really like the thinking about the WiFi, I'll look into that more!

linw
23-11-2015, 04:47 PM
I back 1101 wanting "clearly labelled" LEDs. Frustrating on the phone trying to help someone when neither of you know what the symbols mean!

gary67
23-11-2015, 07:17 PM
You need a better password on your WiFi though

:devil

Greg
23-11-2015, 08:59 PM
Crikey... I'm looking forward to reading Charles Dickens' entire volumes than all the above! :eek:

BBCmicro
23-11-2015, 09:33 PM
a very small point - the device should clearly tell the user that there are two things in the box: a router and a wireless access point (or 3 if it includes a modem). It's an important bit of education for some of us

(I bought a wireless bridge that was supposed to plug into a "modem" according to the blurb. Except that my modem was just a bare modem and the bridge didn't work.)

The wifi on my router/AP possibly conflicts with the AP function of my wireless bridge so it's good that the modem has a setting to disable it

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 10:19 PM
You need a better password on your WiFi though
:devil
^_^


Crikey... I'm looking forward to reading Charles Dickens' entire volumes than all the above! :eek:
Just make a suggestion on what you'd prefer to see / not see in a router then ? :)

Chilling_Silence
23-11-2015, 10:21 PM
a very small point - the device should clearly tell the user that there are two things in the box: a router and a wireless access point (or 3 if it includes a modem). It's an important bit of education for some of us

OK cool that's some good feedback! I can understand! :)

Kame
24-11-2015, 08:13 PM
See in a router?

Absolutely nothing.

The web based interface itself is not even for the average joe bloggs but I can see how it could be made more informative with maybe a widget or tray applet that allows easier configuration, provides them with the essential information needed like status of their connection and the basic means to configure it without even stepping foot into the interface.

Unfortunately, I don't think its an area that should be looked into as for joe bloggs, its pretty much should be a set and forget setup but I assume the interface in question is to aid in troubleshooting a lot of common issues.

For an advanced user, I could see some additional functionality that maybe good to have but we are limited to its hardware resources, although, without the ability to benchmark and stress test it, it might be more under utilised than I am guessing and could probably do a bit more bang and be used in ways that it was not intended for.

Cheers,

KK

Agent_24
24-11-2015, 09:33 PM
Provide a decent remote access telnet or advanced web interface the 5% can use to actually configure things when the user inevitably fails to figure out even the simplest interface.

Greg
25-11-2015, 06:57 AM
^_^


Just make a suggestion on what you'd prefer to see / not see in a router then ? :)Haha. How about, given the fact that I've never used a router (well at least not the digital kind) I'd prefer to see some more limes on my tree, and prefer not to see how well my neighbour's lemons are doing so well compared to mine. :D

wratterus
25-11-2015, 09:42 AM
Haha. How about, given the fact that I've never used a router (well at least not the digital kind) I'd prefer to see some more limes on my tree, and prefer not to see how well my neighbour's lemons are doing so well compared to mine. :D

So what would you be using to get online currently?

BBCmicro
25-11-2015, 11:46 AM
So what would you be using to get online

A router is not always necessary